SARAH’s JOY – THE BIRTH OF ISAAC, THE PROMISED SON (G-21-HBS)

THE BIRTH OF ISAAC

In the preceding chapter, we saw the sin that must be dealt with, confessed, and put away before Isaac could be born to Abraham and Sarah. Now in chapter 21 we have the birth of Isaac.

Isaac was in this a type of Christ, that Seed which God has so long promised, and long expected by Sarah and Abraham. He was born according to the promise, at the set time of which God had spoken.

God’s promised mercies will certainly come at the time in which He sets, and that is the best time which is always on time.

 

Genesis 21:1-8 KJV

[1] And the LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as he had spoken.

[2] For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.

[3] And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac.

[4] And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac being eight days old, as God had commanded him.

[5] And Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him.

[6] And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me.

[7] And she said, Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should have given children suck? for I have born him a son in his old age.

[8] And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned.

 

Genesis 21:1 KJV

And the LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as he had spoken.


  • You will notice that there is a very striking similarity between the birth of Isaac and the birth of Christ. I believe that the birth of Isaac was given to us to set before mankind this great truth before Christ came.

 

Genesis 21:2 KJV

For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.


  • Isaac was born at the set time God had promised, and Paul says, “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law” (Gal. 4:4).

 

Genesis 21:3 KJV

And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac.


  • The name Isaac means “laughter,” When Sarah received the promise, she laughed with distrust and doubt.
  • There are some very remarkable truths here that we need to lay hold of.
  • When God gives us the mercies we began to despair of, we ought to remember with sorrow and shame our sinful distrust of his power and promise, when we were in pursuit of them.
  • This mercy filled Sarah with joy and wonder.

 

Genesis 21:4 KJV

And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac being eight days old, as God had commanded him.


  • The birth of Isaac was a miraculous birth. It was contrary to nature.
  • God’s Blessings to His covenant people surpass their own and others’ thoughts and expectations.

 

Genesis 21:5 KJV

And Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him.


  • In the fourth chapter of Romans, Paul writes that Abraham “. . . considered not his own body now dead . . . neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb” (Rom. 4:19).
  • Out of death God brings forth life: this is a miraculous birth.

 

Genesis 21:6 KJV

And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me.


  • We need to call attention to the fact that God did not flash the supernatural birth of Christ on the world as being something new.
  • He began to prepare men for it, and therefore way back here at the birth of Isaac we have a miraculous birth.

 

Genesis 21:7 KJV

And she said, Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should have given children suck? for I have born him a son in his old age.


  • We also find here that God had to deal with both Sarah and Abraham.
  • They had to recognize that they could do nothing, that it would be impossible for them to have a child.
  • Abraham is 100 years old; Sarah is 90 years old. In other words, the birth of Isaac must be a birth that they really have nothing to do with.

 

Genesis 21:8 KJV

And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned.


  • This little fellow first lived by feeding on his mother’s milk, but there came a day when he had to be weaned. Even this has a lesson for us.
  • When mamma is getting the bottle ready for the little baby in the crib, everything in his entire body is working. He’s got his feet up in the air, he’s got his hands up in the air, and he’s yelling at the top of his voice—he wants his bottle!
  • “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2). It is wonderful to be a new Christian with an appetite like that for the milk of the Word.
  • The day comes when you are ready to start growing up as a believer. Instead of just reading Psalm 23 and John 14—wonderful as they are—try reading through the entire Bible. Grow up. Don’t be a babe all of the time.
  • Notice God’s admonishment in Hebrews 5:13–14. “For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age . . .” Grow up, friends.

 

HAGAR AND ISHMAEL CAST OUT

The coming of this little boy Isaac into the home sure did produce a great deal of difficulty.

 

Genesis 21:9-21 KJV

[9] And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking.

[10] Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.

[11] And the thing was very grievous in Abraham’s sight because of his son.

[12] And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.

[13] And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed.

[14] And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beer–sheba.

[15] And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs.

[16] And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bowshot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept.

[17] And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is.

[18] Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation.

[19] And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink.

[20] And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer.

[21] And he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran: and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt.

 

Genesis 21:9 KJV

And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking.


  • We find that the boy who was the son of Hagar, Ishmael, was mocking. We begin now to see the nature and the character of Ishmael.
  • Up to this point, he seems to be a pretty nice boy, but now, with the appearance of this other son in the family, Ishmael really shows his true colors.

 

Genesis 21:10 KJV

Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.


  • This is an illustration, by the way, of the fact that a believer has two natures. Until you are converted, you have an old nature, and that old nature controls you.
  • You do what you want to do. As the old secular song put it, you are “doing what comes naturally.” What you do that comes naturally is not always the nicest sort of thing.
  • But when you are born again, you receive a new nature. And when you receive a new nature, that is where the trouble always begins.
  • Paul writes in the seventh chapter of Romans of the battle going on between the old nature and the new nature: “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do” (Rom. 7:19).
  • That is, the new nature doesn’t want to, but the old nature wants to do it, and the old nature is in control. The time comes when you have to make a decision as to which nature you are going to live by.
  • You must make a determination in this matter of yielding to the Lord. You either have to permit the Holy Spirit to move in your life, or else you have to go through life controlled by the flesh.
  • There is no third alternative for the child of God. The son of the bondwoman must be put out. That is exactly what we have here in Genesis: the son of the bondwoman Hagar had to be put out.

 

Genesis 21:11 KJV

And the thing was very grievous in Abraham’s sight because of his son.


  • After all, as far as the flesh is concerned, Ishmael is Abraham’s son just as much as Isaac is. Isaac has just been born, and a little bitty baby doesn’t know too much about him yet.
  • But this boy Ishmael has been in the home for a good many years—he’s a teen-ager now, and Abraham is attached to him. The thing is very grievous if Abraham is going to have to send him away.
  • Again, I go back to that which we said before: God did not approve of the thing which Sarah and Abraham did, and God cannot accept Ishmael. This is sin.
  • God just did not approve of it, and He doesn’t intend to approve of it at all. It was a heartbreak to Abraham, but in order to relieve the embarrassment, he had to send that boy away.
  • Poor Sarah just couldn’t take it with this older boy around mocking her.

As a believer you cannot live in harmony with both natures. You are going to have to make a decision. James says, “A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8).

This explains the instability and the insecurity among many Christians today. They want to go with the world, and yet they want to go with the Lord.

They are spiritual schizophrenics, trying to do both—and you cannot do that.

The Greeks had a race in which they put two horses together, and the rider would put one foot on one horse and the other foot on the other horse, and the race would start.

Well, it was a great race as long as the horses were together. You and I have two natures—one is a black horse, and the other is a white horse.

It would be great if they would go together, but they just will not work together. The white horse goes one way and the black horse another way.

When they do this, you and I have to make up our minds which one we are going with—whether we are going to live by the old nature or the new nature.

This is why we are told to yield ourselves: “yield yourselves unto God . . . and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God” (Rom. 6:13).

Paul goes on to say that what the law could not do through the weakness of the flesh, the Spirit of God can now accomplish (see Rom. 8:3–4).

The law tried to control man’s old nature and failed. Now the Spirit of God, empowering the new nature, can accomplish what the law could never do.

The character of Ishmael, the son of Hagar, begins to be revealed.

This is the nature that we find manifested later on in that nation, a nation that is antagonistic and whose hand is against his brother. This has been the picture of him down through the centuries.

In the birth of Isaac, as I have already suggested, we have a foreshadowing of the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ.

God did not suddenly spring the virgin birth on mankind. He had prepared us by several miraculous births before this, including the birth of John the Baptist, the birth even of Samson, and here the birth of Isaac.

I would like to call your attention to the remarkable comparison between the births of Isaac and of the Lord Jesus Christ.

(1) The birth of Isaac and the birth of Christ had both been promised. When God called Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldees twenty-five years earlier, God had said to him, “I am going to give a son to you and Sarah.” Now twenty-five years have gone by, and God has made good His promise. God also said to the nation Israel, “A virgin shall conceive and bring forth a son.” When the day came that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, it was a fulfillment of prophecy. Both births had been promised.

(2) With both births there was a long interval between the promise and the fulfillment. Actually, there were about twenty-five years from the time God promised it until the birth of Isaac. With the birth of Christ, you could go back many generations. For example, God had promised that there would come One in David’s line—and that was a thousand years before Christ was born. This is quite a remarkable parallel here.

(3) The announcements of the births seemed incredulous and impossible to Sarah and to Mary. You will recall that the servants of the Lord visited Abraham as they were on the way to Sodom, and they announced the birth of Isaac. It just seemed impossible. Sarah laughed and said, “This thing just can’t be. It is beyond belief.” And, after all, who was the first one to raise a question about the virgin birth? It was Mary herself. When the angel made the announcement, she said, “. . . How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” (Luke 1:34).

(4) Both Isaac and Jesus were named before their births. Abraham and Sarah were told that they were going to have a son and that they were going to name him Isaac. And with the birth of the Lord Jesus, we find that He was also named beforehand. The angel said to Joseph, “. . . thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21).

(5) Both births occurred at God’s appointed time. Verse 2 of this chapter says that at the set time which God had spoken to them of, Sarah brought forth Isaac. And regarding the birth of Jesus, we note that Paul says, “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law” (Gal. 4:4).

(6) Both births were miraculous. The birth of Isaac was a miraculous birth, and, certainly, the birth of the Lord Jesus was—no man had any part in that.

(7) Both sons were a particular joy of their fathers. We read that “Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac,” meaning laughter. This was the name he gave his son because back at the time when God made the announcement, he laughed because of his sheer joy in it all. Referring to the Lord Jesus, we read that the Father spoke out of heaven and said, “. . . This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:17). Both sons were a joy.

(8) Both sons were obedient to their fathers, even unto death. In chapter 22 we are going to see that this boy Isaac was offered up by his father. He was not a small boy of eight or nine years. Isaac just happened to be about thirty-three years old when this took place, and he was obedient to his father even unto death. That was true of Isaac, and that was certainly true of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is a marvelous picture of the birth and life of Christ in the birth and life of Isaac.

(9) Finally, the miraculous birth of Isaac is a picture of the resurrection of Christ. We have already noted Paul’s words that Abraham “considered not his own body now dead . . . neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb” (Rom. 4:19). Out of death came life—that’s resurrection, you see. After Paul emphasizes this, he goes on to say of the Lord Jesus, “Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification” (Rom. 4:25). We have in Isaac quite a remarkable picture of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Now we find how God graciously deals with Abraham and also with Hagar and her son Ishmael.

 

Genesis 21:12 KJV

And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.


  • God makes it clear to Abraham that He is not going to accept Ishmael as the son He had promised.

 

Genesis 21:13 KJV

And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed.


  • God had said, “Of thy seed, I will make nations to come from you,” and therefore He now says that a great nation will come from this boy Ishmael also.

 

Genesis 21:14 KJV

And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beer–sheba.


  • If Hagar and Ishmael had behaved well in Abraham’s family, they might have continued there; but they were justly punished.
  • If we continue abusing privileges, we will soon forfeit them.
  • Those who are not aware that they are Blessed, will be made to know the worth of Grace and Mercies by living without them.

 

Genesis 21:15 KJV

And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs.


  • Hagar and Ishmael were brought to distress in the wilderness.
  • Having lost their way, in that hot climate, Ishmael was soon overcome with fatigue and thirst.

 

Genesis 21:16 KJV

And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bowshot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept.


  • The promise concerning Ishmael is repeated, as a reason why Hagar should make an effort, herself to help him.
  • It should engage our care and pains about children and young people, to consider that we may not know what great use God has designed for them, as well as, make of them.

 

Genesis 21:17 KJV

And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is.


 

 

Genesis 21:18 KJV

Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation.


 

 

Genesis 21:19 KJV

And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink.


  • The angel directs Hagar to a present supply.
  • Many who have reason to be comforted, go mourning from day to day, because they do not see the reason they have for comfort.
  • There is a well of water near them in the covenant of grace, but they are not aware of it, until the same God that opened their eyes to see their wound, opens them to see their remedy.

 

Genesis 21:20 KJV

And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer.


  • Paran was a wild place, fit for a wild man; such as Ishmael.
  • Those who are born after the flesh, take up with the wilderness of this world, while the children of the promise aim at the heavenly Canaan, and cannot be at rest till they are there.
  • Yet God was with the lad; his outward welfare was owing to this.

 

Genesis 21:21 KJV

And he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran: and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt.


  • The Scriptures are going to drop the line of Ishmael and follow it no longer, but his descendants, the Arabs, are out there in the desert even today.

 

ABRAHAM AND ABIMELECH AT BEER-SHEBA

Abimelech felt sure that the promises of God would be fulfilled to Abraham. It is wise to connect ourselves with those who are blessed of God; and we ought to requite kindness to those who have been kind to us.

 

Genesis 21:22-34 KJV

[22] And it came to pass at that time, that Abimelech and Phichol the chief captain of his host spake unto Abraham, saying, God is with thee in all that thou doest:

[23] Now therefore swear unto me here by God that thou wilt not deal falsely with me, nor with my son, nor with my son’s son: but according to the kindness that I have done unto thee, thou shalt do unto me, and to the land wherein thou hast sojourned.

[24] And Abraham said, I will swear.

[25] And Abraham reproved Abimelech because of a well of water, which Abimelech’s servants had violently taken away.

[26] And Abimelech said, I wot not who hath done this thing: neither didst thou tell me, neither yet heard I of it, but to day.

[27] And Abraham took sheep and oxen, and gave them unto Abimelech; and both of them made a covenant.

[28] And Abraham set seven ewe lambs of the flock by themselves.

[29] And Abimelech said unto Abraham, What mean these seven ewe lambs which thou hast set by themselves?

[30] And he said, For these seven ewe lambs shalt thou take of my hand, that they may be a witness unto me, that I have digged this well.

[31] Wherefore he called that place Beer–sheba; because there they sware both of them.

[32] Thus they made a covenant at Beer–sheba: then Abimelech rose up, and Phichol the chief captain of his host, and they returned into the land of the Philistines.

[33] And Abraham planted a grove in Beer–sheba, and called there on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God.

[34] And Abraham sojourned in the Philistines’ land many days.

 

Genesis 21:22 KJV

And it came to pass at that time, that Abimelech and Phichol the chief captain of his host spake unto Abraham, saying, God is with thee in all that thou doest:


 

 

Genesis 21:23 KJV

Now therefore swear unto me here by God that thou wilt not deal falsely with me, nor with my son, nor with my son’s son: but according to the kindness that I have done unto thee, thou shalt do unto me, and to the land wherein thou hast sojourned.


  • In other words, Abimelech wants to make a contract or a treaty with this man Abraham—and they become good friends because of this.

 

Genesis 21:24 KJV

And Abraham said, I will swear.


 

 

 

Genesis 21:25 KJV

And Abraham reproved Abimelech because of a well of water, which Abimelech’s servants had violently taken away.


 

 

 

Genesis 21:26 KJV

And Abimelech said, I wot not who hath done this thing: neither didst thou tell me, neither yet heard I of it, but to day.


 

 

 

Genesis 21:27 KJV

And Abraham took sheep and oxen, and gave them unto Abimelech; and both of them made a covenant.


 

 

 

Genesis 21:28 KJV

And Abraham set seven ewe lambs of the flock by themselves.


 

 

 

Genesis 21:29 KJV

And Abimelech said unto Abraham, What mean these seven ewe lambs which thou hast set by themselves?


 

 

 

Genesis 21:30 KJV

And he said, For these seven ewe lambs shalt thou take of my hand, that they may be a witness unto me, that I have digged this well.


 

 

 

Genesis 21:31 KJV

Wherefore he called that place Beer–sheba; because there they sware both of them.


 

 

 

Genesis 21:32 KJV

Thus they made a covenant at Beer–sheba: then Abimelech rose up, and Phichol the chief captain of his host, and they returned into the land of the Philistines.


 

 

 

Genesis 21:33 KJV

And Abraham planted a grove in Beer–sheba, and called there on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God.


  • Abraham is calling upon God’s name everywhere he goes.

 

Genesis 21:34 KJV

And Abraham sojourned in the Philistines’ land many days.


We are told later that Abraham was always a stranger and a pilgrim in this land that God had promised to him, and this is an evidence of it.

 

I hope that you have really enjoyed this post,

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